The Adriatic was built for the Collins Line, a US shipping company built up by Edward Collins, formally the New York and Liverpool United States Mail Steamship Company. The company was a serious competitor to the Cunard shipping company. She was intended to begin service in November, but due to technical problems did not run her sea trials until 1857. She was the finest and fastest vessel afloat at that time. Built by Steers in New York she was 355 feet long, 50 feet broad, with a gross tonnage of 3,670 tons. Her machinery was from the Novelty Iron Works of New York: two oscillating 100 in diameter cylinders, giving 3,600 ihp, at a steam pressure of 20 pounds psi. 40 ft paddles at 17 rpm gave 13 knots on 85 to 90 tons of coal per day. The company broke up after losses due to ship wrecks and loss of subsidy. Adriatic was laid up after making a few fine voyages and came to an end as a coal-hulk in West Africa. The Adriatic only made one voyage for Collins’ under these circumstances and was sold for British mail service. In the service of her new owners she made a crossing from Galway to Newfoundland in only 5 days 19¾ hours. After conversion to a sailing ship in 1871, she became a coal hulk for the African Steamship line and was beached in August 1885 in Bonny, Rivers State, Africa, after it was leaking so badly it could no longer be used as a store ship.